Submitted to the
Selkirk College is cracking open the door to one of the most influential cultures in our region with a new Mir Centre for Peace Summer Institute offering starting at the end of April.
An intensive five-day course, Peace 216: The Doukhobors offers a study of the Doukhobors and their connection to issues of peace and conflict. Open to everyone, the course will explore the beginnings in Russia to the current realities. Doukhobor history and culture will be examined with attention to themes of peace, pacifism, violence and non-violence, community, and utopia.
“We want people to feel like they have had a genuine experience in being immersed in the Doukhobor culture of our region, both historical and contemporary,” says the course instructor Takaia Larsen.
The design of the course will enable those with roots in the culture to learn alongside those curious to gain a better understanding.
“Even people that grew up in the community feel they don’t have a full understanding of their family’s experiences in terms of the 19th Century context in Russia,” says Larsen. “The course will trace all of that and it’s going to have a heavy focus on their experiences in the role of creating the modern world, creating an alternative life within the growth of nationalism and the modern state.”
A foundation of West Kootenay culture
Larsen grew up in Castlegar and though not born into the Doukhobor culture, has been heavily influenced through a life spent with good friends who welcomed her into gaining a deeper understanding.
“I have genuine envy for the food and the culture,” she says with a smile. “Their emphasis on food and singing and community is very soothing and very comforting. I feel lucky to have grown up with the influence of this culture.”
After high school, Larsen started her post-secondary career at Selkirk College in the School of University Arts & Sciences. She moved onto Okanagan University College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and English. Larsen’s Master of Arts in History was completed at the University of Victoria.
Learning through the lives of the people
An important element of the Peace 216 course will be the guest speakers and field trips. The classroom component of the course will take place in the mornings at the historic Mir Centre for Peace on the Castlegar Campus. In the afternoons, students will have the opportunity to visit important cultural locations and hear from knowledgeable guest speakers.
The Peace 216 course will require students to complete an on-line component prior to the week-long session which runs from April 27 to May 1. A final assignment will then be undertaken to successfully complete the class. Participants are not required to be a current Selkirk College student, but Peace 216 is available as a University Arts & Sciences transfer course for three credits. The fee for the course is $300 plus GST and registration for the course closes on April 13.